In news we could see coming for the past couple of months, the Arizona Diamondbacks officially relieved indefinitely suspended play-by-play man Daron Sutton and color analyst Mark Grace of their announcing duties on Thursday after both finished the 2012 season on the sidelines.
Though the announcement was expected by many, particularly in Sutton's case, there remained a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of his suspension and overall status leading up to his dismissal today. When it was first announced on June 28, there was speculation ranging all the way from personal matters to philosophical differences to Sutton's choice of attire in the television booth. The team dismissed the dress code rumors pretty quickly, but it wasn't until CEO Derrick Hall's statements on Thursday morning that any definitive light was shed on the situation.
Until Thursday, the team had been cryptic about its reasons for suspending Sutton. Hall said Sutton was not too negative on the air nor did he have any run-ins with the law.
"It's things that have happened over the years," Hall said, when asked to elaborate on what he meant by "philosophical differences."
"The collaboration here of our personnel, dealing with Daron and us trying to go in a direction that was different than he wanted to go as a broadcaster. It's no knock on him. It's style differences and differences of philosophies, as I mentioned. Daron's going to be a good broadcaster for years to come, I certainly hope."
Grace's situation was much less complicated to figure out. On August 23, he was arrested for his second DUI in just under 15 months, which led to an indefinite leave of absence to seek personal assistance for his demons and to deal with his pending legal issues. With of all those issues still unresolved, and Grace's contract coming to an end, Arizona made the call to move on.
There's already speculation that current White Sox analyst Steve Stone could be a candidate to fill Grace's role. Former Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly could also be in play because his announcing contract with the Chicago Cubs just ended. We should know which direction they're going pretty soon because Hall says they hope to have both vacancies filled in the next three weeks.
Indeed, life goes on in Arizona, but regardless of who takes over in their booth we certainly hope and wish for Daron Sutton and Mark Grace to overcome the challenges they're facing in their personal lives and eventually make triumphant returns to a broadcast booth somewhere in the near future.